What’s next on nonproliferation and international security, in Washington and around the globe.
— Feb. 10: The Atlantic Council will hold a forum to discuss this question: “Will a Counterterrorism Operation in Pakistan Succeed under Current Conditions?” As the world awaits the rollout of Nawaz Sharif’s new security strategy, the Pakistani prime minister has tried to keep options open for both dialogue with, and war against, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan insurgents. Speakers at the Washington event are Imtiaz Gul, who directs the Center for Research and Security Studies in Islamabad, and Shuja Nawaz, head of the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center.
— Feb. 10: The Stimson Center in Washington takes its turn addressing “Iran, The Deal and The Gulf.” Its panel of experts will include: Jean-Francois Seznec of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies; Michael Connell of the Center for Naval Analyses’ Iranian Studies Program; and Geneive Abdo of the Stimson Center’s Middle East Program. Ellen Laipson, the center’s president and CEO, moderates.
— Feb. 10-12: The three-year-old Uranium Film Festival — which originates in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — hits Washington’s Goethe Institute. Over the course of the global festival, participants will screen more than 60 movies about atomic power, radioactivity, uranium mining, nuclear bombs and the disasters at Fukushima, Japan, and Chernobyl, Russia. It all starts with “The Atomic States of America,” a 92-minute documentary that travels to communities across the nation to gauge the impact of nuclear power on people’s lives. Some of the filmmakers will be on hand to discuss their work at the Washington events, as well as at additional screenings when the festival moves on to the Pavilion Theater in Brooklyn, N.Y., Feb. 14-19.
— Feb. 11: U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn will testify before the Senate Armed Service Committee about “Current and Future Worldwide Threats.” The hearing likely will begin with unclassified discussion, but might go into closed session. Expect some updated assessments about the status of al-Qaida and various affiliated and unaffiliated violent-extremist networks around the globe.
— Feb. 11: The U.S. House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence will convene a hearing on the possibility that an expansion in the presence of al-Qaida in Egypt might heighten the terrorism threat to U.S. cities.
— Feb. 11: Same day, different Homeland Security Committee panel. The U.S. House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications will assess the bioterrorism threat.
— Feb. 11: President Obama and the first lady Michelle Obama welcome French President François Hollande to the White House for a state visit. Beyond the vital question of whether Hollande will bring along his recently revealed new girlfriend, will he and Obama quietly explore potential contingency plans for the chance that Syria will attempt to retain some of its most dangerous chemical weapons, which have been slated for elimination? Meantime, Hollande last year called the spread of nuclear weapons a top threat to the Middle East.
— Feb. 11-14: ExchangeMonitor Publications will blow our minds again with its consistently comprehensive and interesting annual “Nuclear Deterrence Summit” in Arlington, Va., just across the bridge from Washington. Headliners include U.S. Representative Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the House Armed Services Committee vice chairman; Daniel Poneman, the deputy Energy secretary; Maj. Gen. Garrett Harencak, the top Air Force brass for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration; Vice Adm. Terry Benedict, who directs the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs; Rose Gottemoeller, acting undersecretary of State for arms control and international security; and Bruce Held, acting head of the National Nuclear Security Administration.
— Feb. 13: Chatham House in London is to host an event exploring the “Implementation of Economic Sanctions: Commercial and Public Policy Perspectives.” Five issue experts — including Richard Wood, deputy head of the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s International Organizations Department – will sit down with Chatham House’s Elizabeth Wilmshurst to “consider public and commercial perspectives on economic sanctions, including different viewpoints on issues of compliance, sanctions in practice, and coordination between the British government and its E.U. partners.”
— Feb. 13-14: Nayarit, Mexico, is the site of the Second Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. This topic, say event planners at Mexico’s Foreign Ministry, “must be at the core of all deliberations on nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation.” It follows the first such gathering in Oslo, Norway, last March, where “participants unanimously concluded that there is no type of preparation and capacity in the world that can protect the population of any city from the humanitarian catastrophe of a nuclear explosion.” The Mexico confab is to “broaden the discussion about the damage and risks of nuclear weapons,” and will not aim to produce a negotiated outcome but rather a “factual summary” by the chairperson.
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"The Justice Department inspector general referred its finding that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe repeatedly misled investigators who were examining a media disclosure to the top federal prosecutor in D.C. to determine whether McCabe should be charged with a crime." The referral occurred "after the inspector general concluded McCabe had lied to investigators or his own boss, then-FBI Director James B. Comey, on four occasions, three of them under oath." The referral does "not necessarily mean McCabe will be charge with a crime ... although the report alleged that one of McCabe’s lies 'was done knowingly and intentionally.'"
A federal appeals court in Chicago "upheld a nationwide injunction against making federal grant funding contingent on cooperation with immigration enforcement." The three Republican appointees ruled that the Trump administration "exceeded its legal authority in trying to implement the new conditions without approval from Congress ... One judge on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals panel, Reagan appointee Daniel Manion, said he would narrow the injunction solely to protect Chicago. However, the two other judges assigned to the case said the nationwide injunction appeared to be justified."
"The top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee says Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., is poised to subpoena the Justice Department for former FBI Director James Comey’s memos, which the agency so far has failed to produce. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., warned such a move puts Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in jeopardy of being placed in contempt of Congress and the special counsel investigation of being shut down prematurely."